FINALLY! We’re in Scotland!

Dave and I woke early to finish packing and headed down to Starbucks for Internet service so we could check what the weather in Scotland was going to be like today. Wasn’t looking great, but it is what it is.
We had a taxi pick us up at the hotel and take us to the train station. We arrived a little early and endured some mighty strong, cold winds out on the platforms. Dave believes he’s coming down with a cold, so that’s not good.

Train travel certainly is a painless way to get around the UK. Dave and I found it quite enjoyable. And we liked traveling first class as well. The scenery, for the most part, was beautiful with rolling green hills, small villages and farms and then along the coastline with some stunning ocean vistas.

When we found out we crossed into Scotland via train, we welcomed each other with a kiss. Finally, we’re here! Arriving at Waverly Station it was dark and cloudy, but not raining. Dave decided, against my better judgement, to lug the suitcases up several flights of stairs, a few hills and brick and cobblestone walkways up to the Royal Mile. Then we met the owners of the apartment we’re renting at their store, Cranachan & Crowdie.

What a wonderfully, warm welcome we received from Fiona and Beth. We’ve all been chatting online via email and now Twitter for some time and we felt horrible we had to cancel our visit last year, so it was wonderful to meet them in person finally. Hugs all around and I was called “lass”….now who doesn’t love that?

Beth took us up to the apartment and showed us around. It’s a charming spot in the heart of the Royal Mile about halfway between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. A basket with fresh croissants, jams, shortbread biscuits, and a bottle of wine also greeted us. A fresh bouquet of brightly colored tulips adorned the fireplace mantel and YES, we have Internet here! LOL

After Dave and I freshened up, we set out on foot to explore. Most of the rest of the day was spent getting aquanted with the city on foot and by bus. The bus tours were a great way to do this. It’s a busy, thriving city with so much to do. Very excited to wander around more this coming week.

A place I found online that I’ve had my eye on for probably two years now is eTeaKet Tea Room. I love their website and it looked like an adorable, yet modern, cozy tea room. Dave found our way over and we enjoyed a bite to eat and a lovely tea again. LOVED it! And, I bought more tea. LOL I enjoyed a small pot of their Pu-er tea and some lemon drizzle cake. Dave had a delicious scone and some coffee.

When we finished with bus tours, we walked back up to Royal Mile enjoying amazing views of Edinburgh Castle, which we’ll be visiting tomorrow. When we got back to our street, we noticed acitivity around the castle and Dave found out some bands would be coming up the Royal Mile to the castle so we hung around to see and hear them. It was only two bands, but we got to hear some bagpipes and see a short (very) short parade. I guess it’s a military ceremony that happens six times a year and this was their first time this year. It was VERY cold and windy out, but no rain and we even saw the sun later in the evening which give the city a whole new glow.

We were now very cold and hungry as it was almost 8:15. We stopped in for dinner at The Royal Mile Tavern where we enjoyed Belhaven Ale (a Scottish ale) and made a toast to Edinburgh. Dave ordered up Haggis, Tatties and Neeps. (haggis, potatoes, and turnips) and I opted for the classic fish & chips. I DID try the haggis…it actually wasn’t bad the way it was prepared. I’m still not sure it’s something I would order myself, but I can say I tried it and kept it down. LOL

It’s still VERY light out at 9 p.m., which makes it seems like it’s still early. We’ll enjoy a relatively easy day tomorrow, but it’ll be exciting seeing two of the biggest and most famous historic sites in the country.

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